Looking at properties online, whether to rent or to buy, is one of my favourite things to do. Imagining myself living in a particular property using all the online information available helps me to keep focused on my long term goals. Even though I spend hours (it’s my job) adjusting the filters, testing different price budgets, and expanding the location boundaries on my favourite website, what most people don’t know, is that the choice of website and the filters on each work quite differently and can significantly determine the outcome of the search.
- Something I didn’t realise before working in the leasing space is that not all websites house the same listings. One of the reasons is that some platforms require the agent to pay to upload their listings, thus, the cheaper, or free platforms will naturally have more property listings. These may not have the competitive functionality of the bigger websites, but they do have volume and generally attract listings that are located in more affordable markets.
- Tracking the incoming stock of properties in your desired area can also be made easier if you choose a website that displays the listings in chronological order from ‘Newly uploaded’ listings to ‘Older’ listings. This way, you can check whether you have clocked the ‘Newly listed’ properties yet or not.
- A common mistake we find our clients have made is limiting their search by clicking the ‘pet-friendly’ filter. Generally speaking, this filter is redundant as most agents will never choose to advertise a property as ‘pet friendly’ even if they are willing to consider pets upon application. So, unless it says explicitly ‘NO PETS’, they’ll more than likely consider your furry friend!
- If you adhere to the accustomed philosophy of real estate, this being, ‘LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!’, you should utilise the ‘search by map’ option. Searching platforms can present properties by area, allowing you to see the street/location, proximity to commercial or retail properties, and distance from main roads. This allows you to click on properties that suit your location requirements and make the process as efficient as possible. Similarly, if the location is more important than the aesthetics of a property because you want your child to go to a specific public school you can search by school catchment, although we have found of late that this is not always correct and further investigation is recommended.
- From our experience, one of our clients’ most common requests is to see the floor plan. Ironically, one of our most common findings is that rental listings won’t include a floor plan. When this is the case, we recommend putting the address of the property into your search engine and you will hopefully see an older sales listing of the rental you’re looking at which should include a floorplan. Keep in mind, however that the property may not look the same if the online listing is quite old as it may have been through some recent renovation.
- Our last tip for optimising your rental search experience is to share your shortlist with your partner/roommate. The use of this feature can reduce a substantial amount of time of sending through properties you like to whomever you are going to be living with and keeping track of all of them. If you share your shortlist, anytime you ‘star’ or ‘save’ a property your friend will be able to see it in your shared shortlist. From there you can quickly access the exact properties you like and check for updates.
Now, even with these tips and tricks, searching can be difficult. In today’s market, the task of tracking the inflow and outflow of properties is all-consuming. Additionally, securing a property is sometimes decided in a matter of days, not weeks. That’s why we’re here! We take care of the entire search, which includes access to off-market properties, inspection and negotiation process of your rental journey and so much more. If you’d like to hear how we make the process as efficient and stress-free as possible, get in touch, we would love to help!